French Fry Nightshade-FREE Alternatives
Many of us, particularly those educated on the inflammatory effects of the genre of foods known as nightshades, potatoes, in this case, are always looking for ways to substitute some of our favorite foods and snacks—French fries are no exception. These delicious Zucchini Fries are a healthy alternative with a rich crispy outside of Panko and Parmesan, and a dipping sauce that is addicting—it's literally "Molecular Gastronomy."
Zucchini is also often called Courgette—a French word used in many parts of the world. It originated in the U.S.A. and is available in yellow, light green and green color. Some more recent cultivations produce zucchini in rounded or bottle shapes. It is grown year-round and can be eaten raw, sliced or cooked. It's great shredded in a cold salad and delicious in hot salads as well.
Zucchini is technically a fruit although it is cooked as a vegetable.
Baked Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries
These Baked Zucchini Fries are a deliciously healthy alternative to your usual potato fries! They have a crispy panko and Parmesan breading and become even more addictive with a yogurt dipping sauce.
2 medium zucchinis
1 cup panko breadcrumbs 50 g
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 30 g
1/2 tsp salt, pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 large eggs whisked
2 TB finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup flour or wheat alternative 60 g
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Yogurt Dipping Sauce
- Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then slice into roughly ½ inch wide by 4-inch-long fries (no need to peel them).
- Combine panko, Parmesan, fresh parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Note: If you're avoiding wheat just use gluten-free breadcrumbs and finely grind.
- Place whisked eggs in a separate medium bowl and the flour in a third medium bowl.
- Working in small batches, dip zucchini pieces into the flour, then the egg, then the panko. Set on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- When all zucchini is breaded, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 120 g
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 50 g
1/4 cup mayonnaise 60 g (can use Vegenaise)
2 TB chopped chives 5g
Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, finely grated Parmesan, and chives to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Season to taste with ground black pepper, or white pepper if you want that spicy zing. Serve zucchini fries warm with dipping sauce of choice.
Alternative Dipping Sauces
- Balsamic Glaze (a reduction sauce made of balsamic with whatever you choose to flavor with like a little marmalade of orange or fig—my favorite is fig and I blend into the glaze. Alternatively, I simply reduce the balsamic and sweeten with granulated stevia or honey. Here in Ecuador, they sell a blend of all-natural brown sugar (called Panela) and stevia and it only contains 2 g of sugar…easy to bake with too. In the U.S. you can use the golden Lakanto™ that is an amazing alternative to any sweetener. You can find it online directly from the manufacturer—it measures exactly the same as conventional sugar for baking.
Zucchini Nutrition Facts
Low in Calories and Loaded with Anti-inflammatory Properties
If you're looking to eat healthy to help you lose weight while boosting the nutrient value of your diet, Zucchini comes to the rescue. Studies show it helps enhance vision (especially for us baby-boomers), helps avoid diseases from vitamin C deficiency like scurvy, sclerosis, and easy bruising. It's been reported extremely helpful for those with asthma with its high content of vitamin C. It contains significant quantities of potassium, folate, and vitamin A—all-important for good health.
It is extremely low in calories and provides the feeling of fullness. It contains a high-water content and is rich in fiber. Additional benefits include:
- High source of antioxidants and vitamin C
- Contains anti-Inflammatory properties that can improve heart health
- High source of potassium
- Help improve digestion
- Low in calories and carbs
- Helps maintain eye health
- Good source of energizing B vitamins
- Reported to help control diabetes
- Contains vitamins A, B1, B6, B2
- Packed with nutritional elements including magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium, copper and phosphorus
- Summer squash also has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin, and protein